Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Eat a rainbow

Reese's daycare (formerly Cameron's daycare/pre-K) asked me to come talk to the pre-K students in honor of their Nutrition Week.  I'll be heading over Friday, so I've been doing a lot of thinking about what subject to focus on.  Since I work in the hospital with very sick, mostly elderly patients, a group of five year old kids are way out of my element!  I finally decided we'd talk about eating a rainbow.


Since most kids (and adults!) don't eat the recommend 5-a-day servings of fruits & vegetables, I thought this would be a good subject.  We'll talk about the colors of the rainbow, examples of fruits & vegetables of each color & then we'll make a smoothie to share since it's a fast & easy way to get a healthy dose of fruits & veggies. Our smoothie will have all the colors of the rainbow: Strawberries, carrots, bananas, spinach, blueberries.

I thought these rainbow fruit skewers were super cute too!

Are you & your family eating 5 a day?  Don't worry if you're not! Many times myself & my family aren't either & I'm a dietitian!  The more you think about it, the more likely you'll be to remember to include more fruits & vegetables in your day! 

5 tips for 5 a day

1) Start your day with a serving of fruit.  Like I mentioned earlier, a smoothie is a great way to start the day.  Yogurt with fruit mixed in or cereal or waffles topped with berries or bananas. 

2) Snack on fruits or vegetables.  Reese is known for wanting a bowl of frozen fruit as a snack.  Sometimes she eats it frozen, sometimes she lets them thaw.  Veggie slices with a ranch or hummus dip also makes a quick after school snack.

3) Puree, puree, puree!  I'm often whipping out my Nutribullet & blending fruits or vegetables to add to recipes.  Many times when I make a red sauce, I saute red peppers & carrots & blend them with tomato sauce in the Nutribullet with a heaping mound of baby spinach.


I also blend spinach in a little milk & mix it in with eggs to scramble.  We call them "Dr. Seuss Eggs" around here.

Pureed blueberries & milk also get mixed into my pancake batter.  Yes, I could just top the pancakes with berries, but Cameron is much less likely to eat them in the whole form.  He's awesome with veggies, no so much with fruit.  Reese is the opposite.


4) Buy frozen.  Frozen fruits & vegetables are always in my freezer since they're inexpensive, quick & I don't need to worry about them spoiling.  After a hectic day at work, popping steam-in-the bag veggies into the microwave for 4 minutes is a super fast way of including a serving of veggies to your meal. 

5) Try a new fruit or vegetable each week.  Walk around the grocery store with your kids & work together on discovering a new fruit or vegetable to try.  Let them help you prepare the meal to increase the likelihood of them eating it.  Try, try & try again!  Sometimes it takes many tries for your child to be accepting of a food, so don't give up & stop serving that food altogether.  Take baby steps & implement a try it before you say you don't like it rule.  Cameron would often play the, "I don't like that!" card, but we'd tell him he had to take one bite before deciding.  There have been many times he'd eat more after that initial bite when he realized that he actually did like it. 

Take baby steps in getting your family to eat more vegetables.  If five a day is a major stretch at first, try to eat all the colors of the rainbow over the course of a week rather than a day.

There are even charts you can hang to encourage & remind your kids about trying more, colorful foods throughout the week.  I know life gets busy & healthy eating may slide, but small steps can really make a big difference in keeping you & your family healthy! 

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